Keys to Success - Pharmaceutical Executive


Keys to Success
An overview of recent industry deals reveals 10 principles for developing and maintaining strategic partnerships.

Pharmaceutical Executive

DeBuono adds another dimension to the discussion of metrics. In M&As, she believes that one important measure of partnership success is a comparison of pre- and post-merger metrics. "You can't allow the new arrangement to negatively impact your metrics," DeBuono says. "If before the merger your customer service department averaged twenty seconds to answer a call, and post-merger the average rises to sixty seconds, something has gone wrong. You need to correct it, so performance reaches or exceeds pre-merger levels."

In any discussion about measurement, the issue of stock price inevitably surfaces. The pressure to make the numbers for Wall Street has caused many good deals to fail. The situation is somewhat akin to weather reports: You can't change them, but you can at least take steps to protect yourself. To the extent possible, shy away from moves focused on jacking up short-term profits and put time and energy into ensuring the long-range success of the partnership.

The Ultimate Test of Success Years ago, one of the authors walked into a pharmaceutical manufacturing plant three years after a merger. He saw signs on the walls and literature on people's desks with the name of the old, acquired company. Employees even referred to themselves as belonging to the former company. Clearly, this was a house divided. A true test of a successful partnership is whether an outsider coming into a meeting of employees from both sides would be able to tell who worked for which partner. When it's that seamless, you know your partnership has beat the odds.

Michael Curran-Hays (left) (
) is a partner and practice leader of the North America Pharmaceutical Practice for Kepner-Tregoe, in Princeton, NJ. Martin Wing (
) is a partner and practice leader in the consultancy's European unit.


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